Lifetime Skiver - Binoculars
By Robert Nichols
Wednesday 11 Jul 2012 22:25:00
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“Make a Choice” for Lifetime Skiver – these guys know how to work a groovy tune and spin intelligent, articulate lyrics around it as you are twisting round the floor.

This debut album from Darlington band Lifetime Skiver hits all the spots from the first up-beat of the drum. And it is bursting at the seems with self-help messages and advice if you wish to delve beneath the sparkling pop surface. You won’t need to put this under the microscope though as Binoculars brings musical excellence into sharp focus for a triumph of a debut album.

“In this together but some more than others,” you better make a choice and find a voice. They’re right; the need is that pressing in this ever more polarised world. The trouble is like you Lifetime Skiver were “Born to Care.” The kids have gone and no one is playing out. It is too late. But they’ve left a corking tune and a melody delivered by the kind of big voice that might once have tripped out of Liverpool from the mouthpiece of a Pete Wylie or some such notable.

There are ten songs, many steeped in 60s sonic sense and sensibility. And many a big, big tune. “Every Day’s a Good Day” starts like a tv theme tune, I can picture Tony Curtis and Roger Moore driving sports cars around the French Riviera as the credits roll.

“Work” starts jolly enough but soon descends into a kitchen sink soap box wash yer mouth out drama. Of course Work isn’t something that lifetime skivers should necessarily know much about. But necessity is the mother of… and the people they have to work with do not sound like good eggs at all. Which leads us bang, smack into “Yesterday” which is like a whirling musical carousel. The video to this song would melt and merge a myriad pattern of different colours and shapes as a tune twists and turns and fizzes and purrs.

Nice to get an album with two sides to it. Just like the old days. Nostalgia – it is a thing of the past. “So Enjoy It While It Lasts.” Pessimism lifts up one despairing eye above the parapet before disappearing again. I’m thinking of chirpy Parklife Blur while listening but soon the trademark LS vocal and backing vocal reply sneaks in, to a lyric about not shifting a summer cold and shops shutting down in town.

“Son” is an honest exchange with the offspring which brings us handily to… A minor epic lurking just around the corner in “Exchange.” Starting like computers communicating it builds into a rich musical vista. Maybe like the view that once greeted supporters from the old main stand at Feethams. You didn’t need binoculars in those days but sadly you’ll need them to see the football team in action from the town centre next season. Just a thought which we will return to at the finale of the album.

“Treat Me”.. like a kid. Is once again harping or harking back to a better remembered time. Another smashing tune to accompany this hankering after a better era before the here and now.

“You & Me”… don’t need to worry, a good row can clear the air at the end of this album as an accordion adds a last note of sophistication.

To finish with there is a sample of crowd noise. “I’m Darlo til I die.” How sad that sounds. But let’s face it that is the kind of spirit the Quakers will need to pull them through the depths they have now fallen to. No wonder Lifetime Skiver view the past through rose coloured…  binoculars. Or do they?

Binoculars is a debut album to be proud of. Masterly, so much to chew on here. Like all great works it has instant appeal but switches on more lights and takes on more levels the more times it circulates on your player. The past is a foreign country but not when seen through the eye of Lifetime Skivers trusty Binoculars.


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